The evolution of the telephone has accelerated over the past 20 years. It was once a land-line based system, but now we have mobile phones and mobile phones that use mobile networks for service, and internet and email that takes us to anywhere in the world.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) offers fantastic features such as voice recognition, voice mail, call forwarding, conference calling, and more. Today we want to talk about PBX (Private Branch eXchange) vs. VoIP (Voice over IP). Which should you choose for your office? What makes the systems different?
What are PBX and VoIP?
In the same way that people communicate today, Private Branch eXchanges (PBX) and Voice over IP (VoIP) communication allow a business to send and receive communication through a network. The communication is transmitted through a system of switches, computers, modems, and routers – just like a typical home computer – to showcase speed and voice clarity.
PBX and VoIP communication benefit businesses because they offer: Security – communication between locations cannot be intercepted or hacked without the network system’s authorization.
What Are the Differences Between PBX and VoIP?
PBX and VoIP have plenty of similarities, but they also have a few critical differences that will help you decide which is the best choice for your team. In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the main points of comparison between the two systems.
When considering VoIP or PBX systems for your office, it is important to take into consideration user preference and application needs.
PBX systems are typically an ‘all-in-one package that can be very affordable but come with many limitations in the form of features and uses.
VoIP systems are typically cheaper, unless you opt for an all-in-one system, but may require additional equipment to work effectively. Below are some factors that determine the main differences between PBX and VoIP systems.
Initial setup costs
Initial setup costs for enterprise PBX customers will be much higher than for VoIP. However, once all of the initial equipment and programming is completed, the monthly cost for PBX service will be less than the cost of hosting VoIP.
Transitioning to VoIP doesn’t have costs equivalent to PBX monthly. No more phone bills, hardware maintenance, or expensive software upgrades.
Services are typically set up through a subscription service with providers allowing you to choose between different calling toolsets. You can even choose among different provider plans, changing them whenever it best suits your needs.
The quality of calls is determined by different factors, although an internet connection is the most important. Call delays and hiccups happen whenever a router isn’t configured correctly or if there are issues with your internet provider. PBX systems are more likely to experience these problems because a large part of a PBX depends on the hardware setup, including routers and telephones.
Also, the quality of the VoIP call depends on many factors, some of which are not in your control. One example would be a recent switch by phone providers from a traditional circuit-switched phone network to a relatively new IP-based network. The call quality of that switch will depend on how the telephone company has implemented the service.
Scalability and ease of upgrading
If you are considering upgrading your phone system, the PBX vs. VoIP debate could be one that affects your business. If you are familiar with PBX systems, you already know that they are robust and configurable. However, when it comes to ease of upgrading, VoIP takes the cake.
Using a VoIP business solution has many advantages over using a PBX, particularly in terms of scalability. For example, increasing the number of phones or users on your VoIP system is simple, while adding new extensions to an old PBX can be headache-inducing.
PBX systems are more inflexible. The phone network relies on a specific kind of phone that is only compatible with the PBX. If you want to change or upgrade your system, or even change service providers, you have to worry about whether or not the new phones will work with your existing system.
VoIP systems offer a lot more flexibility. That’s because first and foremost, you don’t need a special phone to make VoIP calls. With a VoIP system, you can use any phone as long as it is compatible with the system. This opens up a wealth of options for the kinds of phones you can purchase.
Reliability and security
Both PBX and VoIP rely on a power source and connection to a broadband line. However, even a slight power problem or a disruption to the internet could cause a VoIP system to fail. For businesses with limited or no electricity, this kind of failure could prove disastrous.
PBXs are also secure, as they rely on traditional landlines, not an internet connection. This means you don’t have to worry about hackers.
Other Considerations When Choosing Between VoIP and PBX
To determine which phone system is best for your business and make a final decision between VoIP and PBX, use the guidelines below to assess your options.
What is your current setup?
When deciding between VoIP and a proprietary system such as a PBX, there are other considerations. For example, if your current setup relies on a PBX platform, you’ve likely already sunk a significant amount of money into your system, so you may want to continue using it rather than invest in something new.
A convenient perk of VoIP is that it can be used in almost any environment. It requires no hardware, and because it’s an internet-based system, you can use your phone on your desktop or on your laptop (if you have one). Many companies find that their employees work from home more often, and this type of business phone system is perfect for that kind of environment.
Do You Have Reliable Internet Access?
If you don’t have strong internet access, VoIP might not be the best option for your business. Instead, consider an IP PBX system. If you do have good internet connectivity, VoIP can still be your best option.
VoIP tends to be more flexible because you can place phones wherever you want. If you have reliable internet access, VoIP is a viable option for both small and large businesses.
Does Your Team Often Work Remotely?
VoIP systems are an ideal fit for distributed teams. You don’t have to worry about having co-workers in the same location because you can all talk with one another via the internet.
A reliable VoIP system can replicate your corporate PBX features without requiring expensive, dedicated desk phones that can not be moved with you to work from home or at a remote office.
Large office complexes with hundreds of workers are more suitable for traditional PBX technologies.
Medium-sized organisations and corporations might benefit from IP PBX deployments. One limitation is that to build and operate a PBX system, they’ll need enough IT employees and a decent technological budget.
A VoIP solution is not the same as a traditional phone system. A hosted PBX solution is appropriate for organisations and teams of all sizes, from solopreneurs, small firms, and early-stage startups to giant corporations with hundreds of lines, remote workers, and several offices.
Do You Need a PBX for VoIP?
While most businesses do not need a PBX to use VoIP services effectively, there are some cases where having an on-site PBX is beneficial. If you have more than 250 employees or you want to conduct long-distance calls through your VoIP system, it’s best to consult with your VoIP provider to discuss the most cost-effective solution for your situation.
Having your own PBX hardware is not required, but it may be part of what you need to meet your company’s needs.
As businesses make the switch from legacy hardware like PBX to the new world of Voice over IP (VoIP), one of the biggest concerns is keeping costs down.
While VoIP is certainly more cost-effective than running a PBX, it does require an additional element to keep costs down. PBX and VoIP can help companies save money while improving communication. But these technologies are not the same thing.
How VoIP works is that it shifts phone calls from your local telephone service to the Internet, while PBX uses your existing phone lines to send calls out over the Internet.
Finally, it should be noted that the two are very different, but have a lot of things in common. From convenience to cost savings to redundancy, both have something to offer businesses that want to be prepared for the future.